Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
While his statements in the Pac-12's report are generally summarized and still not all that extensive, they represent the first comments from him since a text message to Bill Moos recanting his allegation of abuse by Mike Leach and his staff.
Former WSU wide receiver Marquess Wilson has stayed far from the limelight in the two months since the fallout over his letter to fans through the media after he walked away from the team following the Utah game, but he did agree to be interviewed as part of the Pac-12 investigation into the abuse that he alleged in that letter -- an investigation that has cleared Mike Leach and WSU of any wrongdoing.
Much of what Wilson had to say, as reported by the law firm hired by the Pac-12 to conduct the interviews and prepare the report, represented an expansion of the sentiments he communicated the now-famous text message to Bill Moos:
"Wilson reported several time throughout the interview that the coaching staff never physically abused any of the student athletes on the team. Wilson stated, 'I wasn't trying to accuse anybody of abuse. I mean, they never touched us. I wasn't trying to say that in my letter ... I mean, that, there was no point where I was trying to say that they're abusing us. I was just simply stating why I was leaving -- that's all I was trying to do.' "
Wilson appears to be a man who, at the very least, certainly regrets his choice of the word "abuse."
"I definitely could have used a different word. Like I said, I, I couldn't think of anything or another word at the time I was writing it."
Most of us have speculated that Wilson didn't even write the letter, anyway, that it was actually his stepfather, Richard Miranda, who wrote it. Both Wilson and Miranda denied that, with Wilson saying, "... I got help from my mother and stepfather," and Miranda saying he gave "ideas" but did not write the letter.
The firestorm in the wake of the letter caused Wilson to send Moos the aforementioned text message. Asked whether he sent the text message retraction to Moos because someone told him to -- presumably a question as to whether he was pressured by anyone around him to recant -- Wilson said, "No. That was all me."
One thing that was confirmed in the report was the suspicion that Wilson was treated differently than the other players. Players reported that Wilson seemed to be on the receiving end of the strong language -- and everyone agreed there was strong language -- more than others:
"The student-athletes indicated that they felt the coaches 'challenged' Wilson more because he was highly talented and the coaching staff expected more out of him. Several of the interviewed student athletes also reported that coaches continually pushed Wilson because Wilson did not often display maximum effort."
Leach expanded on that idea in the report: "If somebody has great effort, and the result is not great, we still applaud them and positively reinforce them." If they don't give maximum effort?: "We let them know. Generally it's negative. Because anybody's capable of great effort." Leach said Wilson "never worked hard."
Wilson made it clear he wasn't a fan of the harsh language the staff uses -- he said he and his teammates were called "coward, pussy, bitch, all that. ... where I was raised, you don't let people call you that" -- but acknowledged that "it would have changed the situation if I would have just spoke, spoke to someone. They (the coaches) are all good guys."
In the end, the final quote from Wilson is perhaps the most telling. Were the coaches doing things they shouldn't be doing as coaches?
"Not really. I mean, every coach has a different way of doing something. I mean, but I wouldn't say they're doing anything wrong. It was just -- it's just them trying to figure out what gets the players motivated. I mean, like some certain coaches have different ways of motivating people and some people take motivation differently."
Ultimately, this might just be about what we thought it was about all along: Unavoidable collateral damage from an extreme and sudden culture change.